Some insight into flood insurance. If you are reading this, you are probably just like me in many ways. You, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors were ALL affected in some way by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. I am one of you. I lost two homes to the storm. FIRST and foremost I am a husband of a beautiful (and supportive) wife Jackie and daddy to three young children (Katherine 4, Jonathan 2 and Hope 7mo). I am a friend to MANY in the affected areas (I live and work in the Memorial area). I also regularly meet and serve alongside MANY great business owners that are and will be helping rebuild Houston. I am also an industry professional with 15 years of experience specializing in remodeling and new home construction AS WELL as storm remediation and restoration. I am a mechanical engineer by degree and hold many certifications for the industry that I serve. I say all of that NOT TO BOAST, but to establish creditability amongst my community in which I see and hear so much misinformation and bad (ignorant) advice. Please know that in writing this piece, I am taking off my business owner hat and genuinely wanting to serve my community as a friend and neighbor.
Flood insurance vs. Non-Insurance
This DOES NOT matter for the first 3-4 steps in the process of recovery. It DOES matter in the resources that you use, but the process is still the same for all involved. The first thing that I want to mention to those WITH flood insurance: I know you want AND need help too, but please be sensitive to your friends and neighbors that don’t have flood insurance. Please hire a professional; flood insurance WILL pay for the cost!!! PLEASE, Please, please save the resources of the volunteer groups for those WITHOUT insurance; they are the ones that will need the help, the most!! If you still have a group that won’t leave you alone and just has to have something to do (we all have friends like that!) let them help you with the packing of personal belongings that you plan to keep, but that is it! Insurance will cover the rest. I am not an insurance expert so I won’t dwell on this topic long, but the basics are this: Flood insurance through the NFIP will cover up to $250,000 in structure damage and mitigation as well as $100,000 worth of contents. They will not cover contents manipulation (the cost of packing and storing the stuff that you want to keep), but they will cover the Actual Cash Value for replacing it. If you don’t have insurance, there is a grant available to help as well as a loan through the Small Business Administration. The FEMA grant is currently for $33,000 and is intended to help make your home safe, it is not suffice to cover the cost of the rebuilding, but it is enough to make the home safe. It is a GRANT and does not have to be paid back. There is an additional $200,000 low interest (1%-2%) LOAN (you have to pay it back) available to those without flood insurance.